Tonight the HEA Bargaining Team met with School Committee Members Rich Rosa and Scott Wood, as well as Dr. Marotta’s administrative team, for the second time to continue negotiations over conditions for a full in-person return. In addition to those who participated earlier this week, we were joined by Lauren Roberts, Trish Shaw, and Dana McNamara.
The School Committee was prepared with answers to many of our questions. Human Resources confirmed that the District will continue to give priority to educators with high-risk medical conditions to work remotely from home. Other medical accommodations within the buildings will be made for those who require them and submit proper documentation to HR. Other logistical questions around furniture for elementary school classrooms, room configurations, synchronous teaching of quarantined students, support for protocol enforcement with students, and other caseload and workload questions were discussed.
While we were able to explore possibilities and imagine different scenarios, the specific details of just how to implement this transition on the School Committee’s timeline were still not available. The District has completed its parent survey and expects about 50% of the remote learning students across the District to move to full-in person learning, with a minimal number of hybrid students choosing to move to the full remote model. The Administration pledged to do their very best to have this information for us before our next bargaining session on Wednesday, March 24th, which would leave us with just 6 working days and one additional bargaining session (March 31st) to implement the Elementary School transition for April 5th.
We have our doubts that this ambitious timeline can be met. Though we are willing to consider any proposal the District may bring to the table, we asked the Committee to be open to the possibility that despite everyone’s best efforts, it may be best for them to consider delaying the timeline for at least the Elementary Schools to ensure a less disruptive transition.
We also restated our concerns about the recent TRC indoor air quality report (available on our website for you to review) and the District’s assurances that indoor air quality is sufficient for increased capacity without providing us sufficient data to support such claims. The Administration committed to conducting additional tests of those buildings and specific rooms that had elevated CO2 levels during the last test. This additional data will be helpful, but alone will not satisfy our need to have a scientific justification provided for the conclusion that the rooms and buildings have adequate ventilation and/or filtration to safely hold more students.
The Bargaining Team wants to hear from you! Please join us on Tuesday, March 23rd at 7:00pm for an All-HEA Member meeting to hear from us and provide us with your feedback ahead of our next bargaining session.
If you’d like to join the bargaining team on March 24th (5:00pm) as an observer please reach out to Anthony Parolisi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Tuesday, March 23rd at 4:00pm.
Mandy Breton and Emily Boulger
Bargaining Team Chairs